Investigation of the implications for Ireland of emerging standards on pharmaceuticals in receiving waters

Investigation of the implications for Ireland of emerging standards on pharmaceuticals in receiving waters

There has been growing EU concern about the release of emerging micropollutants and untreated pharmaceutically active chemicals (PhACs) into the aquatic environment, particularly at waste water treatment (WWTP) plant level. 33 pharmaceutically active chemicals (PhACs) have been listed as priority hazardous substances for removal under the WFD (2000/60/EC) due to their risk to human and animal health and the aquatic environment. In order to understand the implications of the potential addition of 17-beta-estradiol (E2), 17-alpha-ethinylestradiol (EE2) and diclofenac in further reviews of the EU priority list, a baseline study is required for Ireland. The proposed study will focus on identification of the sources and prevalence of these "watch list" PhACs within the context of Irish water. Based on a thorough literature review and engagement with stakeholders (including but not limited to WWTPs, pharmaceutical companies, Irish Water, Health Service Executive), a preliminary risk assessment of the sources and loadings of these PhACs in Ireland will be performed. Geographic Information System (GIS) and conceptual modelling will be employed to identify potential pollution "hotspots" and to develop appropriate indicators. Current and emerging treatment options and control measures will also be investigated.

If you want to read more about this project, you can do so at erc.epa.ie.

Environmental Protection Agency 2014-W-DS-18
Neil J. Rowan

Keywords: Micropollutants; Pharmaceutically Active Chemicals (PhACs); Water Framework Directive; Aquatic environment; Wastewater treatment plant

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